Saturday, July 11, 2009

My Twike meets its first Tesla

Today was the OEVA EV Awareness day in Portland, Oregon. We had vehicles of many types from conversions, to factory production vehicles, to motorized bikes. I was there all day with my Twike since I can now drive from my house to downtown and back and I'm also part of the OEVA group. What made my day though was when a Tesla showed up. The owner is David Stiers who you may remember as the actor who played Charles Winchester on MASH! It turns out his is retired and lives just south of Newport Oregon. He heard indirectly that there was something happening today in Portland around Electric Vehicles and thought it would be great fun to show up. He found our web site and just took it upon himself to drive the 130 miles from Newport to Portland (good to have a Tesla with 240 mile range). Thus this afforded me several things. One, I got to meet him and a fine gentleman and in good humor he was. Secondly, I got to see my first Tesla in person after reading about them for ages. And thirdly, probably not the first but one of the few shots of a Twike and Tesla together. I have a 2kwh pack in the Twike and can go 20 miles, the Tesla has a 50kwh pack and can go 240 miles (and of course top speed is 150 miles per hour). I have him in efficiency but he has me in every other category (except luggage space, I think I win there). Thanks to David for just showing up as he is one of only 3 Telsa vehicles in Oregon (so I hear). In regards to the Twike, it is doing great and it getting regular use as I drive it to/from work everyday.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Today I put on 36 miles (a new 1 day record). I drove the 8 miles to/from work and worked out at Bally's during a late lunch. I zipped home and did a quick top off charge so I could drive all the way to downtown Portland for the monthly OEVA (Oregon Electric Vehicle Association) meeting. Coming home was kind of a challenge in that it is 10 miles, climbs over 1000 feet in elevation and I had it do it with my lights on which suck more power. No problems and I made it with about 30% battery power remaining. With 12 year old NiCad cells, I am not quite sure how much capacity I can rely on. BTW, the picture is of my license plate "Oregon TWIKE". It is a motorcycle plate because in the state of Oregon, a Twike is licensed as a motorcycle.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Daily Commute started on July 1, 2009

Starting yesterday, I am doing my daily work commute via the Twike. The missing piece was getting a second battery pack working well. I drove yesterday and today to and from work which for me is just under 8 miles. I don't yet have a good feeling for how much power it is taking to do my commute but today it only took 1.2Kw to charge it when I got to work (and that was after it ran the fans for a while to cool the batteries). The NiCads can deliver lots of power but they do heat up in doing so and right now we are having a heat wave in Portland which does not help. I got lots of thumbs up and waves today. One guy was keeping next to me and yelling out his open windows. "hey! really cool. Where did you get it? Did you build it?" that kind of stuff. Kind of hard to drive and answer questions in traffic. Work is cool about letting me charge there (used 12 cents of power today). I'm not sure, but I might have enough charge to go roundtrip without charging at work. Tomorrow I'm going to try a trip to someone's house that is 13 miles away so we will start to test the range a little more. Currently, my longest single trip is the 8 miles to work. Since I brought it home, I bought 3 new tires, had them mounted and balanced, and I installed them on the vehicle. I also did a lot of cleaning up in the battery compartment and on all the removeable panels (bottom and sides). With two reasonable battery packs, the car is pretty snappy on acceleration. I can keep up with traffic no problem and can even hill climb at a reasonable rate (not as fast as a car but at least I *can* accelerate uphill now). I have been taking a less direct route home to minimize the hill climb time (I climb the hill by winding through a neighborhood as this allows me to drive slower without annoying anyone). On the way to work however, I go straight down the hill with regen on full sucking amps back into the batteries. Tonight my odometer read 204 miles. Expect a lot more miles in the weeks ahead.